Investment will transform Colorado into the Silicon Valley of quantum technology
In case you missed it, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper toured the University of Colorado Boulder’s Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) facility to celebrate Colorado’s Regional Tech Hub designation. After the tour, Hickenlooper hosted a roundtable to discuss the impact the federal designation will have on bringing critical technologies to market, driving regional economic development, and drawing thousands of good-paying jobs to Colorado. For Coloradans, applications in Quantum Information Science can help accelerate drug discovery, discover sources of critical minerals, provide secure encrypted communications, and enhance the capabilities of space-based navigation systems or Earth observation satellites.
The Department of Commerce selected Boulder’s Elevate Quantum, a coalition that includes private companies, startups, workforce development organizations, and universities like University of Colorado and Colorado School of Mines, as one of only two Regional Tech Hubs awarded a Designation status in the nation dedicated to advance quantum technologies.
Hickenlooper helped write and pass the CHIPS and Science Act, which created the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs Program, as the former Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Space and Science subcommittee. He also served on the Bipartisan Innovation & Competition Conference Committee to negotiate a final version of the bill which was passed into law.
Check out what they’re saying:
Colorado quantum leaders gathered on Dec. 15 at the University of Colorado Boulder to speak with Sen. John Hickenlooper about the state’s recent tech hub designation. Colorado and the Mountain West are one of 31 regional tech hubs designated by the Biden Administration and one of two quantum tech hubs. Hickenlooper said quantum — a type of technology that can solve problems that are difficult, if not impossible, to solve with classic technology — is the country’s next opportunity for success.
Hickenlooper joined state quantum leaders on Dec. 15 at the University of Colorado Boulder to talk more about the state’s new opportunities.
…”Life is based on taking the last success and building on that to the next success, and this is the next success,”Hickenlooper told the Denver Business Journal.
…Of the 31 regional tech hubs, five to 10 will receive implementation grants from the EDA. Hickenlooper said this will likely be a political decision, a battle he thinks Colorado will win.
“If it’s a scientific decision, I think we definitely win,” Hickenlooper said at an event surrounded by Colorado quantum leaders, including founders, scientists and university faculty.
Although Hickenlooper isn’t part of the team determining where tech hub federal dollars will go, he told the DBJ it’s important he understands the state and region’s strengths and what makes Colorado’s proposal unique. After his conversations today, he said he will begin working with Wyoming and New Mexico’s senators to get more support for the Phase 2 funding.
Hickenlooper helped write and pass the “Chips and Science Act,” which created this tech hub program, to add jobs and boost technology innovation across the U.S. and to prevent America’s science and technology industries from falling behind the rest of the world.
Hickenlooper, who is the only scientist in the U.S. Senate, has always loved science, something he’s continued to advocate for in political circles. When he served as the mayor of Denver, his goal was to attract young professionals, entrepreneurs and technology to Colorado to build a strong ecosystem and workforce.
“While I was governor [of Colorado], we were one of the top states for innovation and technology,” he said. “Our rate of growth for science and technology in Colorado over the last 12 to 14 years has been right near the top of America and that’s what drives economies.”
In a significant visit to JILA, a joint institute established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado Boulder, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper discussed the transformative potential of quantum computing on Colorado’s economy, job industry, and educational sector. The visit underscored the state’s growing prominence in the quantum technology landscape.
To understand the research and innovation happening within JILA, Senator Hickenlooper was given a brief tour of the institute, meeting with several instrument makers in the instrument shop to see equipment purchased with congressionally directed spending championed by the Senator, and graduate students within JILA and NIST fellow Jun Ye’s laboratory.
Senator Hickenlooper then engaged in a comprehensive roundtable discussion with influential figures from the Colorado region in the quantum computing industry and academic sectors. This included Ben Bloom, Founder and CTO of Atom Computing; Dan Caruso, Founder and Managing Director of Caruso Ventures; Scott Davis, CEO and Founder of Vescent; Scott Faris, CEO of Infleqtion; Joe Garcia, Chancellor of the Colorado Community College System; Ilyas Khan, Cofounder and Chief Product Officer at Quantinuum; Zach Newman, Founder and CEO of Octave; Corban Tillemann-Dick, Founder and CEO of Maybell; and Zach Yerushalmi, Cofounder and CEO of Elevate Quantum.
The visit also featured significant CU attendees, such as Russell Moore, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Massimo Ruzzene, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation; and esteemed JILA Fellows like Konrad Lehnert, Jun Ye, and Margaret Murnane. These interactions focused on exploring collaborative opportunities and strategies to make quantum education more sustainable and inclusive to students of all backgrounds.
A distinct roundtable topic was Colorado’s ongoing competition for the coveted Tech Hub designation from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which comes with substantial funding. This designation is a key driver for technological innovation and economic growth, positioning the state as a leading hub for cutting-edge technology. Colorado was recently designated as one of 31 inaugural Tech Hubs and is now competing for additional investment in the next phase of the program. The Tech Hubs program was authorized by lawmakers, including Senator Hickenlooper, last Congress as part of the CHIPS and Science Act.
Senator Hickenlooper mentioned the importance of harnessing quantum computing for economic development, job creation, and educational advancement. He highlighted the need for investments in quantum research and its applications to ensure Colorado remains at the forefront of this technological revolution.
This visit, organized by the CU System Office of Government Relations, marks a significant step towards integrating quantum computing into Colorado’s economic and educational frameworks, promising a future of innovation and growth.